Ring-necked Snake

Diadophis punctatus


Ring-necked Snakes are found throughout Mississippi, often under logs in forested habitats. They are gray or brown with an orange ring around the base of the head. The belly is bright orange with small black markings. Most individuals should be classified as Mississippi Ring-necked Snakes, however the Southern Ring-necked Snake may be found in the extreme southeast of Mississippi. D. p. stictogenys has small, irregular groups of dots on the belly (often centrally placed), and the ring is reduced around the neck. They are a common species and generally fossorial, searching below forest floor cover for invertebrates.

Mississippi Ring-necked Snake, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)

Identifying Traits

  • Gray body with orange ring around neck
  • Belly pattern varies between subspecies and may overlap in morphology

Subspecies Present:

Mississippi Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus stictogenys);

Southern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus punctatus)


Woodlands, grasslands



Fossorial, most often found under cover. Active at night


Various invertebrates, earthworms and small insects

Belly pattern variation, © Sara Robin
Belly pattern variation, © Sara Robin
Ring-necked Snake found in Madison County, IA
Two juvenile snakes, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)